Two Hong Kong pro-democracy figures were denied entry to Macau on Saturday, two days before Chinese state leader Zhang Dejiang was set to visit the former Portuguese colony.
Kwan Wing-yip of the Neo Democrats and Ray Au Chun-wah of the Democratic Party, both district councillors for Tai Po, said they were banned from entering the SAR on Saturday. They received notices from the Macanese government saying they “posed a threat to the stability of [Macau’s] internal security.”
Kwan said he was going sightseeing in Macau with his family, but was denied entry on Saturday evening.
“They made a big deal out of a minor issue – it shows they are cowardly,” he said. “On my way back, I was wondering whether I should visit Macau again in the future – not because I am wary of wasting my time or money, but because the way Macau banned us was insulting.”
Au said he was leading a one-day tour to Macau for around a hundred Tai Po residents. He arrived at around 10am and was held up by the authorities for around 45 minutes before being ordered to return to Hong Kong.
The politician said one of his assistants and a Hong Kong high school student on a separate tour were also denied entry. He cited the student as saying that he had never joined any protests, speculating that it was because the student’s name is similar to that of someone on Macau’s watchlist.
“We question how Macau compiles its watchlist and how it determines what poses a threat to Macau. I am shocked because my assistant and I did not criticise the government often or appear radical in the past,” Au said.
Macanese police told RTHK that they are tasked with monitoring everyone who enters and leaves Macau. The force declined to comment on whether it had recently expanded its watchlist in preparation of Zhang’s visit.
At least three pro-democracy figures were barred from entering Macau in the past month. Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan and his party colleague Ricky Or were unable to enter Macau on April 30. They said the visits were for personal purposes.
Accountancy sector lawmaker Kenneth Leung was also rejected entry to Macau on April 16 as he attempted to visit the territory with his family. He described the decision at the time as “unreasonable and bizarre.”
Last Friday, Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting tabled a surprise motion at the legislature, which proposed “punishing” Macanese security leadership and immigration officials by examining them for an hour whenever they attempt to enter Hong Kong, and then denying them entry with a letter saying they threatened Hong Kong’s security.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Gary Chan Hak-kan, who chaired the meeting, did not allow the motion to be debated.
Zhang is scheduled to visit Macau between Monday and Wednesday. He will be staying at Xinzhuyuan Hotel, which has been blocked off from the public. The Macanese government did not release details of Zhang’s visit, except that he will be hosting two talks and visiting three places in the city.